TUCSON, Ariz. – Cal (268-281 – 549, -27) has extended its lead to 16 strokes at the conclusion of two rounds at the National Invitational Tournament being played at the par-72, 7,200-yard Catalina Course at the Omni Tucson National Resort. Michael Weaver (67-70 – 137, -7) has taken over the individual lead and is one of five Cal players in the top 11 heading into Sunday’s third and final round of action.
Keelan Kilpatrick (69-69 – 138, -6) moved up eight spots into a tie for second one shot off Weaver’s pace with his second consecutive three-under par round that was the best of the day by a Cal player. Joël Stalter (68-71 – 139, -5) is another stroke back tied for fourth, while James Yoon (70-71 – 141, -3) and first-round leader Brandon Hagy (64-77 – 141, -3) are two more shots behind tied for 11th.
“It’s great to have everyone in our lineup within four shots of the lead,” head coach Steve Desimone said. “It shows the balance and depth we have. I saw a lot of good golf today.”
“Our goal going into today was to extend our lead from where we started and we were able to do that,” Weaver said. “Hopefully tomorrow we can play well and increase the lead even more.”
Despite playing in the last group of the day with winds picking up later in the round, Cal posted Saturday’s third-best round. The seven-under par 281 shot by the Golden Bears was better than all but a pair of teams in SMU (290-275 – 565, -11) and New Mexico (288-279 – 567) that started 90 minutes earlier and moved into second and third-place, respectively.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” Desimone said. “Most of the teams with the better scores today teed off early.”
The 54-hole NIT concludes Sunday with the third and final round beginning at 8 a.m. PDT/MST. Yoon will be the first of five Cal players off the first tee at 9:30 a.m. PDT/MST.
NATIONAL INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT (HOSTED BY ARIZONA) TUCSON, ARIZ. OMNI TUCSON NATIONAL RESORT – CATALINA COURSE (PAR-72, 7,200 YARDS)
TEAM LEADER BOARD (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes) 1. Cal (268-281 – 549, -27) 2. SMU (290-275 – 565, -11) 3. New Mexico (288-279 – 567, -9) 4. San Diego State (284-284 – 568, -8) 5. Oklahoma State (282-288 – 570, -6) T6. Arizona (281-290 – 571, -5) T6. UNLV (284-287 – 571, -5) 8. Texas A&M (287-290 – 577, +1) 9. San Diego (290-290 – 580, +4) 10. Marquette (287-296 – 583, +7) 11. TCU (299-286 – 585, +9) 12. New Mexico State (301-290 – 591, +15) 13. UTEP (298-295 – 593, +17) 14. Wyoming (304-314 – 618, +42)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD – INDIVIDUAL LEADER (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes) 1. Michael Weaver (Cal) 67-70 – 137 (-7)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD – CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes) 1. Michael Weaver 67-70 – 137 (-7) T2. Keelan Kilpatrick 69-69 – 138 (-6) T4. Joël Stalter 68-71 – 139 (-5) T11. James Yoon 70-71 – 141 (-3) T11. Brandon Hagy 64-77 – 141 (-3) *T51. Shotaro Ban 76-72 – 148 (+4) *Playing as an individual
NOTES ► Cal is looking for its sixth win in nine tournaments in 2013-14 in its first event since finishing eighth at the prestigious Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters last Friday-Sunday, ending a string of 37 consecutive top-five finishes dating back to the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign. Cal won 23 of 33 stroke-play events during that stretch with the other top-five finishes coming in four match-play events.
► Cal is playing at the National Invitational Tournament for the first time since 2010 when the Golden Bears finished fifth, while Weaver is the lone Cal player to have previously participated in the event tying for 24th as a true freshman that season.
► Weaver has 11 birdies in his first two rounds, including four Saturday with three coming on par-fives (2, 10, 15) and another on a par-four (11) with birdies on three of the holes (10, 11, 15) for the second consecutive round. His two bogeys came on the par-three fourth and par-four 14th.
► Kilpatrick has equaled Weaver’s 11 birdies over the first two rounds and jumped out of the gates with birdies on each of the first three holes Saturday on his way to a five-under par 31 on the front nine, with additional birdies on the sixth and eighth holes. He stayed at five-under for the round before a double bogey on the par-four 13th. He got one stroke back with a birdie on the par-four 16th but gave it right back when he bogeyed the par-three 17th.
► Stalter’s five birdies (6, 8, 11, 13, 15) on Saturday gives him a team-high 13 for the first two rounds. He also had four bogeys in his round (4, 7, 12, 18), with the first three on par-three holes.
► Yoon’s steady round included a pair of birdies (11, 13) and one bogey (18), all on par-four holes.
► Hagy was within one shot of the lead until a triple bogey on the 18th hole. He also had a tough stretch early in his round with a double bogey on three before back-to-back bogeys on four and five. His two birdies Saturday on the eighth and 13th holes give him 11 over the first two rounds came on the eighth and 13th holes.
► Hagy’s round of 64 in the opening round Friday equaled his lowest of the season and tied for the second-lowest of his career, behind only a 62 he fired at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational he won in the fall of 2012. Hagy had a round-high nine birdies and one bogey.
► Playing as an individual Ban started his round from the 10th hole and birdied each of his first three holes. He gave all three strokes back with bogeys on 15, 17 and 18. On his back nine, he had birdies on the par-five second and eighth holes, while making bogey on the par-three seventh and par-four ninth.
“All in all so far the trip has been a success, but we have 18 more holes to go tomorrow. I like our chances to finish this thing off and head for home.”
► Joël Stalter “We had another good round as a team and extended the lead, which is awesome. It should be a fun day tomorrow. Hopefully we can keep it up.”
► Keelan Kilpatrick “It was a tough day out there especially on the back nine when the wind kicked up. But we hung in there pretty well and it was nice to extend our lead. It should be a fun day tomorrow with everyone within four shots of the lead.”
► James Yoon “The team is playing well and we extended our lead, which was our goal. Hopefully we can extend our lead more tomorrow.”